Pinkerton Academy to Maintain Current Dress Code

Students at Pinkerton Academy will not have to adhere to a Unified Dress Code offering a variety of clothing items.

The semi-private high school will maintain its current dress code instead.

The concept of a unified dress code was first addressed this fall, when administrators explored the possibility with surveys of parents and students and a public forum in which administrators and students modeled combinations of clothing. The items of clothing were “business casual” shirts, skirts, sweaters and pants in a limited palette of colors. While the sample outfits came from a Land’s End catalog, the administration said that would not necessarily be the vendor.

Administration’s reasons for a Unified Dress Code, which is not a uniform, included student safety and less time dealing with dress code infractions. But parents and students raised issues ranging from individual student expression to the cost of a prescribed wardrobe.

Dean of Students Glenn Ahrens wrote in a press release, “The Administration at Pinkerton Academy has given the issue of a revised dress code considerable time and effort. We have had multiple dialogues and received considerable input from students, parents, and staff. We have also looked at what other schools have done locally and nationally. We have conducted research, taken surveys, and met with parents, staff, and students on the issue.

“As we have gone through this process, we have constantly asked ourselves two central questions,” Ahrens wrote. “First, why do we want to change the dress code, and secondly, what will be the impact of changing the dress code on the culture of the school and on the community? We looked at the reasons given: safety, professionalism, distractions to the educational process; and we looked at the anticipated financial impact on the students and families. Additionally, we asked if changing the dress code would impact the culture of the school in a different direction from what we are today and what we have been for 200 years.”

Ahrens further wrote, “After a thorough examination of all the information, the Administration, with the approval of the Board of Trustees, has elected to maintain our current dress code rather than implement a Unified Dress Code. We believe that our current dress code, though not perfect, meets the needs of our families and students and creates an atmosphere where students can learn effectively. There is an expectation that our students will follow our established dress code and come to school dressed appropriately for school and not dressed for the beach or for a party.  We will continue monitoring current trends in fashion and will continue to explore dress code options for the future. We want to remind all parents and students that there will be persistent enforcement of our dress code, and violators will be subject to disciplinary action as outlined in the Student Planner.”

Ahrens concluded, “As a service to our families, we are currently working with clothing vendors and hope to have an agreement where parents and students have the opportunity to purchase good quality clothing through links on the Pinkerton website, if they wish. You will not be required to purchase clothing from these vendors and you may purchase clothing from wherever you choose. This will give parents and students many options for clothing that is appropriate for school, hopefully creating a sense of improved professionalism in clothing appearance.

“We realize that this decision not to move forward at this time with a strict unified dress code will be received differently by all some will be thankful and others will be disappointed,” he said. “If students follow the dress code as written in the Student Planner, it will meet the expectations of everyone.”

The current dress code includes the following:

1. Acceptable clothing must be in good condition, free of holes, and not tattered or worn; cut-offs are never acceptable.

2. Acceptable footwear should be safe, comfortable shoes suitable for walking around campus.

3. Appropriate tops are collared casual or dress shirts, polo shirts, turtlenecks, sweaters, or T-shirts with appropriate necklines. Tank tops, tops or dresses with spaghetti straps or any tops that have shoulder straps of less than 2 inches in width are prohibited.

4. Acceptable shorts or skirts will be no higher than knee length when the person is standing normally. All pants and shorts must be worn at the waist line or above.

5. The following are prohibited: clothing that is too revealing, bare midriffs, visible undergarments, pajama bottoms or sleepwear, or comparable attire.

6. Hats, hoods, and headgear are prohibited except while traveling outside school buildings, in the corridors or during lunches. Bandanas are prohibited at all times.

7. All clothing with inappropriate or suggestive words, phrases or illustrations displaying or promoting alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, illegal substances, prejudice, violence, dismemberment, extreme behavior, and any sexual activity or innuendoes are prohibited. Pinkerton Academy reserves the right at any time to prohibit the display of any article of clothing, headgear, insignia, symbols of “gang” affiliation or any article of clothing likely to incite violence or create a risk to the safety of students or faculty.

8. Certain Academy functions will require a more formal dress code according to the nature of the activity.

9. All athletic uniforms when worn during the school day must adhere to the Academy’s dress code guidelines.

10. All personal grooming, including application of make-up, should be done in bathrooms, locker rooms or the health office. Electrical grooming devices such as hair dryers, hair curlers or straighteners are prohibited.

11. Students should be considerate of others and limit the amount of applied perfumes or body sprays.

The dress code also states, “Any violation of the dress code may, at the sole discretion of the administration, require appropriate clothing to be brought to the school or the student sent home to change.

A student may be kept out of classes until appropriate attire is worn. All clothing must conform to all other Academy policies and to state and federal health and safety regulations.

The dress code is in effect at all times school is in session, including exams, and at all school functions.